Malware and spyware protection

Malware
What is “malware”?
What should I do if I see a pop-up screen or something unusual when I attempt to log into online banking?
What should I do if I entered my personal information?
What should I do if my computer is infected with malware?
How do I protect my computer from “malware”?
If someone accesses my account and steals money from me, will Vancity cover the loss?
What is Vancity doing to protect members against malware?

Spyware
What is spyware?
Signs of spyware: Are you being watched?
I see pop-up advertisements all the time.
My settings have changed and I can’t change them back the way they were.
My Web browser contains additional components that I don’t remember downloading.
My computer seems sluggish.
How to get rid of spyware
How to prevent spyware

Malware

What is “malware”?
It’s a type of virus that is unknowingly installed on a person’s computer to steal personal information, such as account numbers, user names, passwords and credit card numbers for the purpose of fraud. Often, malware will present itself as a pop-up screen that will attempt to get your login information when you try to log into online banking.

What should I do if I see a pop-up screen or something unusual when I attempt to log into online banking?
If you see a pop-up screen it is likely that your computer has been infected by malware and we advise you to take the following steps:

  • Do NOT enter any information in any screen and shut down your browser.
  • Call Vancity’s call centre at 604.877.7000 (or toll free 1.888.Vancity) and ask to have your online banking access turned off until the malware has been removed from your computer.
  • As a precaution, you should change your personal access code by going into your community branch or by using a virus-free computer – this is the code you enter in order to log into online banking.
  • Your anti-virus and/or anti-malware software may not detect and remove this virus. To ensure that your computer is virus free, you must either wipe your computer clean and re-install all your programs including your operating system (Windows, Mac OS etc.) or take your computer in to a security professional to have the malware removed.


What should I do if I entered my personal information?
If you do submit personal information in response to a pop-up, please contact the call centre or your branch right away. You will need to change your personal access code immediately for all accounts that you access with the computer that has been infected.
You need to protect your personal information. Because of this, we suggest that you check your credit history through the following credit reporting agencies:


What should I do if I my computer is infected with malware?

If you see the pop-up window above, your computer is definitely infected with malicious software (malware). Stop using your computer for online activity until the malware has been removed by a computer security professional. Your anti-virus or malware software may not detect and remove this virus.

How do I protect my computer from ‘malware’?
While we always provide a secure means by which to communicate with us online, you too must protect your computer from instances that may be less safe.

Always make sure to:

  • keep your system up to date
  • use anti-virus and anti-spyware software
  • have a firewall in place


If someone accesses my account and steals money from me due to malware or spyware, will Vancity cover the loss?
We have a Security Guarantee that covers our online and debit card transactions. If you incur losses due to unauthorized online banking or debit card transaction activity you will be reimbursed under the terms of the Account and Services Guide as long as you fulfill all of your responsibilities under the Account and Services Guide.

What is Vancity doing to protect members against malware?
We are educating our members on what malware is and how they can protect themselves against it. Please read over the information we have in the Privacy and Security section on our website.


Spyware
Spyware is a general term used for software that performs certain behaviours. These behaviours include advertising, collecting personal information or changing the configuration of your computer, generally without appropriately obtaining your consent.

Spyware is often associated with software that displays advertisements (called adware) or software that tracks personal or sensitive information.

That doesn't mean all software that provides ads or tracks your online activities is bad. For example, you might sign up for a free music service, but "pay" for the service by agreeing to receive targeted ads. If you understand the terms and agree to them, you may have decided that it is a fair tradeoff. You might also agree to let the company track your online activities to determine which ads to show you.

Other kinds of spyware make changes to your computer that can be annoying and can cause your computer to slow down or crash. These programs can change your Web browser's home page or search page, or add additional components to your browser you don't need or want. These programs also make it difficult for you to change your settings back to the way you originally had them.

The key in all cases is whether or not you (or someone who uses your computer) understand what the software will do and have agreed to install the software on your computer.

There are a number of ways spyware or other unwanted software can get on your system. A common trick is to covertly install the software during the installation of other software you want such as a music or video file-sharing program.

Whenever you are installing something on your computer, make sure you carefully read all disclosures, including the license agreement and privacy statement. Sometimes the inclusion of unwanted software in a given software installation is documented, but it may appear at the end of a license agreement or privacy statement.

Signs of spyware: Are you being watched?
If your computer starts to behave strangely or displays any of the symptoms listed below, you may have spyware or other unwanted software installed on your computer.

I see pop-up advertisements all the time.
Some unwanted software will bombard you with pop-up ads that aren't related to a particular website you're visiting. These ads are often for adult or other websites you may find objectionable. If you see pop-up ads as soon as you turn on your computer or when you're not even browsing the Web, you may have spyware or other unwanted software on your computer.

My settings have changed and I can't change them back to the way they were. Some unwanted software has the ability to change your home page or search page settings. This means that the page that opens first when you start your Web browser or the page that appears when you select "search" may be pages that you do not recognize. Even if you know how to adjust these settings, you may find that they revert back every time you restart your computer.

My Web browser contains additional components that I don't remember downloading. Spyware and other unwanted software can add additional toolbars to your Web browser that you don't want or need. Even if you know how to remove these toolbars, they may return each time you restart your computer.

My computer seems sluggish. Spyware and other unwanted software are not necessarily designed to be efficient. The resources these programs use to track your activities and deliver advertisements can slow down your computer and errors in the software can make your computer crash.

If you notice a sudden increase in the number of times a certain program crashes, or if your computer is slower than normal at performing routine tasks, you may have spyware or other unwanted software on your machine.

How to get rid of spyware
Many kinds of unwanted software, including spyware, are designed to be difficult to remove. If you try to uninstall this software like any other program, you might find that the program reappears as soon as you restart your computer.

If you're having trouble uninstalling unwanted software, you may need to download a tool to do the job for you. Several companies offer free and low-cost software that will check your computer for spyware and other unwanted software and help you remove it.

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) include anti-spyware software in their service packages. Check with your ISP to see if they can recommend or provide a tool. If your ISP doesn't offer a removal tool for spyware and other unwanted software, ask people you trust to recommend one, or see the links in step 1 below.

Keep in mind that removing unwanted software with these tools may mean you will no longer be able to use a free program that came with the spyware.

How to prevent spyware
You can help protect your computer against spyware and other unwanted software by:

  • Using a firewall. While most spyware and other unwanted software come bundled with other programs or originate from unscrupulous websites, a small amount of spyware can actually be placed on your computer remotely by hackers. Installing a firewall or using the firewall that's built into your operating system provides a helpful defence against these hackers.
  • Updating your software. One way to help prevent spyware and other unwanted software is to make sure all your software is updated. Windows XP and Mac OS X both can be setup to receive updates automatically. This way you won't miss any important security updates.
  • Adjusting your Web browser's security settings. You can adjust your Web browser's security settings to determine how much – or how little – information you are willing to accept from a website.
  • Downloading and installing antispyware protection. Most Internet service providers now offer antivirus and antispyware software. In addition, Microsoft currently offers free anti-spyware.

 

Surfing and downloading more safely. The best defence against spyware and other unwanted software is to not download it in the first place. Here are a few helpful tips that can protect you from downloading software you don't want:

    • Only download programs from websites you trust. If you're not sure whether to trust a program you are considering downloading, ask a knowledgeable friend or enter the name of the program into your favourite search engine to see if anyone else has reported that it contains spyware.
    • Read all security warnings, license agreements and privacy statements associated with any software you download.
    • Never click "agree," "cancel" or "OK" to close a window. Instead, click the red "x" in the corner of the window or press the Alt + F4 buttons on your keyboard to close a window.
    • Be wary of popular "free" music and movie file-sharing programs, and be sure you clearly understand all of the software packaged with those programs.

 
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